Billions are expected to tune in on Saturday as Harry, 33, marries his actress fiancée Meghan, 36, at St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle.
And royal fans are desperate to know how much the royal wedding is costing and whos paying for it. One things for sure: it will blow your friends £40,000 nuptials right out of the water.
Harry and Meghan have had just six months to plan their big day, announcing their engagement on 27 November last year.
Wedding planning website and app Bridebook.co.uk has expertly calculated that the overall cost (excluding security) is expected to be over £2,099,873 – thats over 100 times as much as the national average, which is £17,913.
With security costing an eye-watering £30million, suddenly Meghan and Harry have got themselves a £32m wedding.
A total of 800 guests are expected to attend the ceremony and lunchtime reception, followed by 600 at a private evening reception for family and friends. There are also the 2,640 members of the public theyve invited to think about, so its no surprise the wedding is on the expensive side.
Heres a breakdown of Harry and Meghans wedding costs, in case youre feeling inspired…
Venue – £350,000
Harry and Meghan are tying the knot at St Georges Chapel at Windsor Castle and luckily, they dont need to worry about paying for the privilege.
While their first receptions is to be held at St. Georges Great Hall, their second reception is being held in a luxurious glass marquee (just like Pippa Middleton had at her nuptials last May) in the grounds of Frogmore House, near Windsor Castle, and these can cost as much as £300,000. Add on catering, security and staff adjoining marquees, it gets pretty pricey.
Catering – £286,000
Catering will be needed for the formal lunch reception for state guests and the intimate dinner reception for close family and friends at Frogmore House. London caterers charge at least £100 per guest for a lunch reception and £300 per guest for a dinner reception, including all food, chefs, staffing and crockery hire.
Drinks – £193,000
According to Bridebook, the wedding standard is to serve one glass of champagne for every 30 minutes of the drinks reception, in addition to a minimum of half a bottle of wine per person during dinner. They predict around 1,700 bottles of vintage champagne and 650 bottles of fine wine, whiskey and cocktails to accompany dinner and dancing for the 800 plus guests.
While Buckingham Palaces wine cellars – which boast contents worth a reported £2million – will likely provide the champagne and fine wines for the wedding, they will still set the Queen back a few bob. The royal familys favourite champagne is Bollinger and that sells for £80 a go, equating to around £136,000 on bubbles. Throw in a few bottles of Prince Charles favourite 15-year-old Laphroaig Scotch, some of Meghans favourite wine, Tignanello – the wine she named her former lifestyle blog The Tig after – it adds up pretty quickly.
Dress – £300,000
We are unlikely to find out which designer Meghan has chosen for her wedding dress, but shes expected to spend around £300,000 on a bespoke dress and a tailor-made outfit for the evening.
Flowers – £110,000
Theres no secret about Meghans love of flower – especially peonies.
Considering Meghan and Harry are having their wedding in two locations, the cost of flowers is likely to jump. While us mere mortals would do the sensible thing and use the ceremony flowers during dinner and dancing too, its likely, with no expense spared, Meghan and Harry will deck all of their wedding venues out.
Photography & Videography- £17,000
The countrys top wedding photographers could set you back around £4,500. Meghan and Harry will likely need more than one to ensure all angles are captured, not to mention a videographer so they have the moment on film to watch again and again… and again.
Cake – £50,000
A stunningly-decorated cake from a top cake maker will start from £4,000 and will need to be at least eight tiers to give a slice to each of the 800 guests. Meghan and Harry have chosen Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery in East London and theyve gone for a lemon and elderflower buttercream-frosted sponge.
Its also expected Harry and Meghan will go for more than one cake, which will only serve to bump up the cost. After all, it is a royal wedding tradition to have a fruitcake on offer, too.
Stationery – £30,000
From save-the-dates to the invitations to name cards, menus and signage around the venue – weddings require a lot of stationery.
Harry and Meghan have used Barnard and Westwood for their beautiful, bespoke invitations, which have now been sent to guests. A 200-piece Bespoke Stationery set from Barnard and Westwood exceeds the £10,000 mark. As the invites, which feature the Three-Feathered Badge of the Prince of Wales printed in gold ink, have gone out to 600 guests, its a pretty hefty price for invites.
Music – £300,000
Music will feature heavily at their wedding – from bell ringers to the organist and choirs in the church, to musicians for the reception and a top wedding band and DJ. Its even rumoured a top music act like Elton John – or The Spice Girls, even – could perform on the day, although whether theyll charge for the privilege is another thing altogether. One things for sure: the best in the business is an expensive business.
Trumpets – £90,000
Prepare to hear the classic Royal Announcement dun dun-dun-dun-duuun coming from 20 bespoke silver-plated fanfare trumpets, all stamped with the Royal Coat of Arms as requested by the Ministry Of Defence. Each of these will set the couple back between £3,000 and £6,000.
Decoration and Production – £130,000
Weddings are all about the wow-factor so expect plenty of amazing lighting and production from the church to the reception to the intimate dinner at Frogmore House.
Wedding Rings – £6,000
Meghans wedding ring will most likely be Welsh gold – a tradition the royal family have held since 1923: the Queen holds a small amount of gold in the royal vaults. Kate Middletons wedding ring was created by royal warrant holder Wartski, with ties to Wales, and they are likely to do Meghans too.
Its expected that Harry will choose to wear a ring, unlike his grandfather Prince Phillip and brother Prince William. Prince Charles, however, does wear a gold band and Harry may follow suit.
Bridesmaids Outfits – £6,698
While Kate only had sister Pippa Middleton as her bridesmaid and then younger flower girls, Meghan was expected to have around three or four, as is the growing trend in both the UK and US, where Meghan is from. A designer bridesmaid dress can cost as much as £1,000 – thats not including all of the alterations that may be needed, which Bridebook has included in its quote.
However, its now thought she has opted against having adult bridesmaids as she found it too difficult to choose between her friends and will instead just have flower girls and page boys.
Prince George and Princess Charlotte are expected to take center stage. Kates outfits for her flower girls and page boy outfits were created by Nicki Macfarlane.
Church Fees – £175
Yep, Harry and Meghan will have to pay their marriage fees just like everyone else.
Groomswear – £8,000
Harry is expected to wear a tailor-made Royal Air Force uniform for the wedding – and it wont come cheap. Its also likely hell wear a custom tuxedo or suit from Savile Row.
Hair and Makeup – £10,000
Hannah Martin of Bobbi Brown and Richard Ward did Kate and Pippas wedding makeup and hair, so Meghan may opt to use them as she has spoken of her love of Bobbi Brown in the past. However, Belgravias Neville Hair & Beauty is also a favourite of Meghans.
Entertainment – £55,000
Anything from a grand fireworks display to photobooths to childrens entertainment and even a display from the Royal Air Force could take place at the royal wedding. The budget will need to be big for those impressive stunts that Harry and Meghan will want to wow their guests with.
Wedding Favours – £3,000
Its a given that Harry and Meghan will make their wedding favours personal – but will they take inspiration from America or England? And will they go down the DIY route? Either way, favours for 800 guests wont come cheap.
Toilets – £35,000
Given how many guests are attending their wedding – 800 plus 2,640 members of the public – plenty of toilets is an absolute must. Spend a penny? More like 3,500,000 pennies!
Transport – Free
The Queens State fleet of three Rolls-Royces, three Daimlers and two Bentleys will no doubt all be in use on the day, meaning they can save a few pounds in the transport department.
The Honeymoon – £120,000
Bridebook predicts that Harry and Meghan will opt for some alone time before the wedding, then whisking their closest friends away for a party-filled holiday to celebrate with them after their big day. Its also expected that Meghan will be paying for the honeymoon as a gift to Harry.
Security – £30 million
The big one: security.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge spent £30,000,000 on security for their 2011 wedding. Thats around 15 times as much as Harry and Meghans whole wedding will cost.
While the wedding might not be in London, security will be just as tight with threats having previously been made to Meghan and thousands of members of the public heading to Windsor to revel in the festivities.
TOTAL – £32,099,873
Bridebook founder Hamish Shephard comments on the royal wedding
Meghans family can breathe easy as Prince Charles is covering the cost of the wedding.
The actually ceremony and day reception will be very formal following all the traditions of a wedding and royalty. However the evening ceremony will have no rules to follow and will allow the couple to show off their personalities in any way they like.
Everyone should expect a few surprises. From Prince William driving down The Mall in that Jaguar, to Pippa Middletons Spitfire fly-by, Harry and Meghan will certainly have some surprises up their sleeves.
With 39% of the worlds population expected to watch the wedding, Meghans dress will set global trends for a generation.
May weddings are generally about 15%-20% cheaper than the core summer months, so hopefully Harry and Meghan have negotiated hard for a few bargains!